Sharks: Primal Fear and Fascination


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A curious factor occurred because the final diver started to climb out of the water on a constitution dive boat’s ladder following the day’s ultimate dive.  He caught his face masks into the water for one final glimpse under after which excitedly shouted, “Hey! There’s a big shark proper under us!” Pandemonium. Half-dressed divers scrambling for masks, snorkels, cameras and fins and bailed into the water. Startled, the shark shot away like a missile.

What I discover fascinating is that this type of “run in the direction of versus run away” diver conduct is polar reverse to most of the people’s notion of, and conduct round, sharks. You don’t see this occur on a seashore, for instance. Beachgoers are likely to run out of the water ever since Jaws scared the shark-fearing-public off the seashore and out of the water.

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The reality is, this can be a primal worry imbedded inside us, in contrast to different worry. It's a deeply human worry associated to the sensation of impending predation that faucets into our survival instincts. Some sources, say Jaws exaggerated shark misconceptions a lot that right now, 40+ years later, the consequences nonetheless linger. Over the many years, divers have confronted and conquered this primal worry and now, by-and-large, don't perceive sharks higher than the typical individual, however take pleasure in a compelling fascination when sighting a shark whereas within the water on a dive. An empowering a part of our journey as divers is overcoming this primal worry of sharks that in any other case grips virtually all of humanity.

Because you’re a diver, you recognize that sharks are essential for each the economy and a healthy ocean and that globally, there are about five fatal shark attacks annually on average, whereas humans kill about 125 million sharks.

As apex predators with superbly tailored type and performance, sharks are wonderous, lovely fish that we take pleasure in seeing.

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The Shark Week Alternative

The rationale I point out it's because 9 August begins Discovery Channel’s 32nd Shark Week. The occasion attracts around 40 million viewers, making it a chance for you and me as divers and PADI Torchbearers. Even when some exhibits show slightly over sensationalized, something that will get individuals fascinated about, and studying to care about, the underwater world is an effective factor for my part. Listed here are some methods we will leverage Shark Week for this:

1. On social media and in individual, let buddies and acquaintances know that as a PADI Diver and Torchbearer, you’ll be watching Shark Week exhibits. Doing this raises curiosity in watching and studying concerning the underwater world, however it additionally reminds them that you've a reputable perspective they will faucet into. Submit feedback concerning the exhibits which have aired – what you appreciated, what was practical, what was over-the-top, and your personal shark encounters. Make sure you hash tag your native PADI Dive Middle and teacher to allow them to take part. Don’t be stunned if lots of people supply views and opinions. Even when they disagree with you, these discussions are often a constructive option to increase consciousness.

2. Welcome questions. Because you’re a diver, don’t be stunned if pals ask you about diving and attending to see sharks. Sharks stay in each ocean, so even for those who can’t journey far, in case your native diving is within the ocean, there’s all the time an opportunity you’ll see sharks – your native PADI dive operator might even have shark diving alternatives. That’s value doing your self, in addition to passing alongside to others who need to see them first-person. And, even these inland will need to contact their local dive shop and turn into PADI Open Water Divers to allow them to see sharks once they journey to salt water. Additionally, PADI Resorts and Dive Facilities can supply the AWARE Shark Conservation specialty wherever they're.

three. Be prepared for the BIG query: How did you handle your worry about sharks? A 2015 US study discovered that regardless that a big majority of individuals assume sharks ought to be protected (a development that's spreading globally, fortunately), half of these surveyed stated they’re “terrified” of sharks, with virtually 40% saying they gained’t swim within the ocean as a consequence of that worry. So, the worry is widespread and doubtless retains individuals unnecessarily away from creating an in depth relationship with the oceans and diving.

So, when individuals ask in case you are afraid about sharks, I recommend telling them how you are feeling and why.  We all know that they're superb, intriguing and sleek creatures which might be threatened by human worry and overexploitation, so the actual hazard is to not us, however to them. World famend marine biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle put it this manner:

“Sharks are lovely animals, and for those who’re fortunate sufficient to see numerous them, that signifies that you’re in a wholesome ocean. You have to be afraid in case you are within the ocean and don’t see sharks.”

Search journey. Save the ocean.

Dr. Drew Richardson
PADI President & CEO

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